Flight of the Nighthawks (Darkwar Saga Series #1)

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Overview

A new evil threatens Midkemia, its web stretching from the deepest criminal underworld all the way up to the highest seats of power in ancient Kesh. And the Conclave of Shadows, charged unexpectedly with the training of two apprentices, must also best powerful agents of the darkest magic . . . for the fate of two worlds lies in the balance.

The New York Times bestselling author and master of fantasy Raymond E. Feist returns to his signature world of Midkemia in this first book ...

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Flight of the Nighthawks (Darkwar Saga Series #1)

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Overview

A new evil threatens Midkemia, its web stretching from the deepest criminal underworld all the way up to the highest seats of power in ancient Kesh. And the Conclave of Shadows, charged unexpectedly with the training of two apprentices, must also best powerful agents of the darkest magic . . . for the fate of two worlds lies in the balance.

The New York Times bestselling author and master of fantasy Raymond E. Feist returns to his signature world of Midkemia in this first book in a gripping new trilogy that ushers in the third, and most dramatic, Riftwar yet: the Darkwar.

In the middle of the night on Sorcerer's Isle, the powerful sorcerer Pug is awakened from a nightmare that portends destruction for all of Midkemia. Disturbed by the dream, Pug calls for a convening of the Conclave of Shadows. Though Pug does not yet know it, his son Magnus has discovered the cause of Pug's prophetic dream: a beacon has been unleashed, directing a vast army of alien invaders to Midkemia, an army so formidable that even the might of the Tsurani Empire might fall before its fury.

Meanwhile, in far Stardock town, two boys are coming of age. But on the dusty path that leads them from home they are thrust by fate into a life undreamed of, becoming enmeshed in intrigue, murder, and treason. Though untrained and unready, they are called upon by the mysterious Conclave to travel deep into the heart of the Empire of Great Kesh, to confront a plot so dark and twisted it will implicate even the highest-ranking nobles of the Empire, even members of the royal family itself. And behind this plot they discover the ancient Brotherhood of Death, the clan of assassins known as the Nighthawks.

And Pug will find himself once again facing his old nemesis, the evil wizard formerly known as Sidi, now Leso Varen, in a confrontation with everything at stake: his honor, his life, and the future of Midkemia.

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Editorial Reviews

San Diego Union-Tribune
“A promising start to what looks like a strong, dire trilogy of fantastic adventure.”
San Diego Union-Tribune
“A promising start to what looks like a strong, dire trilogy of fantastic adventure.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060792787
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/11/2006
  • Series: Darkwar Saga Series , #1
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.17 (d)

Meet the Author

New York Times bestselling author Raymond E. Feist's previous novels include the Chaoswar Saga (A Kingdom Besieged), the Demonwar Saga (Rides a Dread Legion and At the Gates of Darkness), the Darkwar Saga (Flight of the Nighthawks, Into a Dark Realm, and Wrath of a Mad God); the Conclave of Shadows (Talon of the Silver Hawk, King of Foxes, and Exile's Return); the Riftwar Legacy (Krondor: The Betrayal, Krondor: The Assassins, and Krondor: Tear of the Gods); the Serpentwar Saga (Shadow of a Dark Queen, Rise of a Merchant Prince, Rage of a Demon King, and Shards of a Broken Crown); the Riftwar Saga (Magician, Silverthorn, and A Darkness at Sethanon); Faerie Tale; The Prince of the Blood; and The King's Buccaneer. He lives in San Diego, California.

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Read an Excerpt

Flight of the Nighthawks

Chapter One

Brothers

The boys burst through the door.

Chickens scattered; one moment they had been peacefully pecking the ground, seeking spilled grain and the occasional insect, the next they were squawking in protest and scurrying in all directions as the two boys landed in the village street with loud grunts.

To passersby the boys appeared as a flurry of fists, elbows, and knees rolling on the ground pecked clean by the chickens. As they thrashed about, their blows were ineffective but heartfelt as each boy sought enough leverage to land a winning strike, while at the same time prevent his opponent from punching back effectively. The result appeared to be more of a pointless wrestling match than a serious fight.

The boys appeared to be roughly the same size and age -- about sixteen summers old. The dark-haired youth wore a maroon-colored tunic and leather trousers. He was slightly shorter, but possessed broader shoulders and was arguably the stronger of the two. The boy with dark blond hair was dressed in a blue tunic and leather trousers. He possessed a longer reach, and was arguably faster.

They had been raised as brothers for almost their entire lives and, like brothers everywhere, were prone to conflict in an instant. Both were handsome after a rough fashion: sunburned and possessing the lean strength gained from long hours of hard work and barely adequate food. Neither boy was stupid, but at this moment they were not behaving as if they were particularly bright.

The cause of their current conflict hurried out of the door after them, shouting angrily. "Tad! Zane! Stopthis right now or I won't go to the festival with either of you."

The struggling combatants appeared oblivious to her warning as they rolled in the dust. "He started it!" shouted the dark-haired boy.

"No I didn't!" countered the other.

The girl was the same age as the erstwhile rivals. She had brown hair like Zane, and green eyes like Tad, was smarter than both of them put together, and was arguably the prettiest girl in Stardock Town.

An older woman followed Ellie from the house carrying a bucket of well water and she unceremoniously tipped it over the boys.

Shouting at their sudden drenching, the lads released each other and sat up. "Ma!" shouted the blond boy. "What'd you do that for? I've got mud all over me now."

"Then go clean yourself up, Tad." The woman was tall and regal looking, despite her plain homespun dress. Her light brown hair had some gray, and her face was sunburned and creased, but her expression was youthful. Looking at the darker lad, she added, "You, too, Zane." Her brown eyes were merry though her expression was stern. "Caleb will be here soon and then we're leaving with or without you two hooligans."

The two boys stood up, dusting themselves off as best they could, as the woman threw a large cloth at them. "Get the mud off with this, and then go to the well and rinse it out!" she admonished the two boys. "It's one of my good kitchen rags."

Ellie stood looking at the hesitant brawlers. "You idiots. I said I'd go with both of you."

"But you said it to me, first," said Tad. "That means you'll dance with me first."

"No it doesn't," said Zane, ready to resume the fisticuffs.

"Stop this before it starts again!" shouted the older woman. "Now get out and clean yourselves up!" Grumbling, the two boys complied.

"Marie, why are they always fighting?" asked Ellie.

"They're just bored." Then she looked at the younger girl. "When are you going to tell them?"

"Tell them?" said Ellie, feigning ignorance.

Marie laughed. "You'd better tell them soon, girl. It's a poorly kept secret and they might hear about it at the festival."

The girl's brow creased and her eyebrows raised as she made an expression of exasperation. "We used to be like family, you know?"

"All things change." The older woman looked around the town. "When my family first came here, Stardock Town was still a small place. Now it's twice the size. The Academy was only half finished, now look at it."

Ellie nodded as they both stared at the distant island across the lake. "I see it every day, Marie. Just like you do."

The massive building dominated the island in the middle of the Great Star Lake rose, rising like a massive dark mountain. The village that rested at the academy's edge now engulfed the entire northeastern end of the island. Only those who served in the Academy of Magicians lived there. Stardock Town had grown around the ferry station to the island -- at first just a simple trading stop, but now a bustling center for commerce in the region.

"Well, if Grame Hodover's anything like his pa, he'll start yakkin' as soon as he has some ale in him."

"And Tad and Zane will be throwing punches before anyone can talk sense into them," finished Ellie.

"So, best sooner than later," said Marie as she motioned for Ellie to follow her back into the house. They entered a large, single-roomed building, with room for a hearth, a table, and bedding for three. Once inside she said, "The boys are your best friends, though they don't realize it right now. Each thinks himself in love with you, but that's born from competition rather than for any serious reason I can see."

Ellie nodded. "I do love them, but like brothers. Besides, even if I wished to marry one of them, Father -- "

"I know. Your father is the wealthiest shipper in Stardock Town and Grame's pa is the only miller, so it's a natural match."

"I do love Grame," said Ellie. "At least enough to live with him."

"Love is not the simple romance that the tales make it out to be," cautioned Marie. "Tad's father was a good enough man, but we had our moments. Zane's pa treated . . .

Flight of the Nighthawks. Copyright © by Raymond Feist. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 38 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 48 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Pug is back

    In Midkemia, Pug the sorcerer is sleeping with his beloved wife Miranda when the nightmare awakens him. He envisions the deadly soldiers of Dasarti, but this time they attack him seemingly successful unlike what happened years ago in real life. Miranda as always provides him comfort as she knows her Pug has lived through lifetimes of tragedies and traumas cleaning up the calamities of others. Still very concerned with what he saw in his dream, Pug convenes the Conclave of Shadows to meet on Sorcerer¿s Isle ASAP to interpret what this means and prepare for the worst that he anticipates is coming. --- At the same time two teenagers, Tad and Zane due to some misadventures arrive at the Isle too. Though untrained they are now part of the sorcerers led by Pug preparing for unknown strife against an unknown adversary. However, as Nakor and Magnus interpret things including scrolls from the future sent back by Pug to Pug, they realize the enemy is the lethal Nighthawk assassins accompanied by Pug¿s life long enemy the evil wizard Sidi, who Pug thought was dead, but is back as Leso Varen. To the victors goes Midkemia. --- Two years have passed since Pug¿s last save the world adventure (see EXILE¿S RETURN), but this time the opening tale of the Dark War saga seems more like a transition tale even with Sidi back (one time too often) as a personal adversary to the tired beleaguered hero. The story line is action-packed and introduces two new teen heroes who to them Pug seems like ancient history. Though well written and exciting, FLIGHT OF THE NIGHT HAWKS is clearly for those who have followed Pug from his juvenile days (see MAGICIAN) as he appears off kilter and seemingly (speculation on my part) set to pass the mantle to the next generation though he is in the middle of the fray. --- Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2006

    masterfully writen

    this book was amazing its kinda funny b/c i went to england like in november of 2005 and i happend to be right next to a boarders book store so i went in hoping to see somthing i would lik eand BAM right there in front of me was this, i cant even call it a book its just to plain a word for it, a novel, no a master piece. pug is back and better than ever in this thrilling new adventure featuring two young boys named tad and zane who are adopted by pugs younger son calis. calis , married to the boys foster mom, takes the boys to learn a trade when they are waylaid by bandits. after being greviously wounded calis is transported(with the boys) to his fathers island. this book includes gods manifesting them selves in other mortals, sutes of armer filled with souls and a whole other world trying to open rifts between midikemia and themselves, while at the same time some one has revived the kingdoms worst enemy, the Night Hawks. its a battle agenst time to stop assasination murder and the whole world from being inslaved by a ruthless race of beings......

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Flight of the Night Hawks, the Darkwar trilogy, Book 1

    On the surface, "Flight of the Nighthawks" tells the story of two "brothers", coming of age to be men, Tad and Zane, which Feist does really, really well. I find the more interesting part of the story is how Pug and Nakor continually discuss the very nature of good and evil, while Pug's mind is always on his new family and the one that he has lost. They are also trying to deal with the threat of the Dasati invading Midkemia, through a new rift that is open with the help of the Great Ones. Also, they must find Leso Varen, who has returned. But, can they defeat him this time? There are a lot of great characters in this novel that I love, and the further investigations into the Nighthawks, the Talnoy and the Gods themselves are more than enough to keep me reading. I really love this book! Raymond E. Feist does not disappoint! A definite must read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2006

    Kill Sidi/Leso Already...

    This war with only one true Nemesis is taking forever. Can't the author think of something else? This is getting boring...always facing the same enemy can be taxing...although they triumph at the end of every book, its rather pointless to make the enemy bungle a few moves to lose and still come out alive...

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2006

    Very good

    Very good. I've been reading Feist for years and I would recomend this book to anyone. I was glad to see Pug back in a major role.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Really?

    I love feist. I love Midkemia. I do not like what Feist has done with this series. They speak of Pug as the greatest magician ever. So tell me why he can't kill Leso Varen, but a regular mortal like Talon and Kaspar can?...I don't understand. I love the characters of Tad and Zane. I found the book interesting although it was still filled with the nonsense of catching Leso Varen. Whats the greatest magician ever affraid of? In the Conclave of Shadows series it even talks of Magnus someday beibg more powerful then Pug. So you mean to tell me....Pug, Miranda, Nakor and Magnus can't defeat Leso Varen...Give me a break. Im just so tired of these magicians. I would like the series alot better without them. Thats my only complaint about this series. it's time for Leso to die so the story can move foreward. The worlds greatest magicians can't kill Leso, but a young human named Talon can throw a ball at his face and then break his neck....COME ON FEIST!!!!............Never the less, I love the world of Midkemia and will continue to read......ENJOY....

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2006

    Re: Publishers Weekly Review

    While Feist may never enter the realms of epic fantasy literature like Tolkien, Robert Jordan or David Eddings, he is well worth the read. Their review makes the book sound as though it is not well writen, but they are quite mistaken, as Feist has a way of pulling the readers into the novel and creating a world that is almost real with it's history and detail. His language is easy to read, and I guess that is detremental for Publisher's Weekly, but to me it in no way detracts from the story. I do agree with the other reviewer that it seems geared towards people who have already read the other Midkemia novels, though you can get through it if you haven't.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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